Danish director Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s Flee is proving to be a dominant force on the film awards circuit.
The Danish-French-Swedish-Norwegian co-production picked up three wins this weekend at the 34th European Film Awards, which scrapped their plans for a live ceremony and staged a virtual event due to a surge of Covid cases in Germany.
Flee won the animated feature category where a record five films were nominated. The film is based on the testimony of Amin (a pseudonym), who fled Afghanistan as a child and is now living in Denmark as an openly gay man. It interweaves limited animation and archive footage to tell his tale of trauma and secrecy.
The other animated feature nominees were The Ape Star, Even Mice Belong in Heaven, Where is Anne Frank, and Wolfwalkers.
More unexpectedly, Flee also won the prize for European documentary, where it was up against four live-action features. Its third honor was the European University Film Award, which is voted for by college students. All of the other nominees in the latter category were also live action.
It’s hugely surprising that the film swept all categories in which it was nominated. We had earlier speculated that Flee might split the votes in the animation and doc categories, thus hurting its chances to win either of them. But the exact opposite happened.
It leads us to wonder now of what will happen at the Academy Awards, where Flee is eligible in three categories: animated feature, foreign film, and documentary. The Oscars have long taken the position that feature animation is a children’s art form and its members tend to vote more conservatively than their European counterparts. How they respond to Flee remains to be seen.
Regardless of how Flee does with Academy voters, it has already experienced huge success this awards season, with many key awards still to come. The film also won another major honor recently: best non-fiction film from the New York Film Critics Circle.